1. Boost the Odds of Achieving Your Goals With This 1 Simple Shift

    The New Year is right around the corner and with year-end planning underway, you’re probably mapping out what you want to accomplish in the next 12 months ahead.

    Whether you’re resolving to leave your dead-end job, speak up more in meetings or finally get started on the side projects you’ve been putting off, there’s one indisputable truth that’s impossible to ignore: change is hard.

    Nearly one-half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but just 8% follow-through and accomplish their goals.

    Most of us are familiar with the cycle: You’re jazzed in January only to find yourself derailed and demotivated within a few weeks. You beat yourself up for failing to achieve your full potential despite your best intentions.

    But creating deep, lasting change is less about willpower and more about designing smart, effective goals.

    You don’t have to settle for average for yet another year. Try this new method to set New Year’s resolutions that create real results.

    Turn Resolutions Into Questions

    Asking questions and then answering them–instead of making statements–is a more effective method for sticking to your promises, research finds.

    Enter: the “Questolution“.

    Instead of pledging to start a business in the New Year, it would be more effective to ask “How might I go about getting my first client?” or “What commitments might prevent me from going all in?”

    This type of solution-oriented inquiry has been shown to produce consistent, significant changes in a variety of contexts from exercise and eating healthier to voting and gender stereotyping.

  2. What Your Arguments Over Money Are Really About (And How To Resolve Financial Fights)

    Money can be a loaded topic, especially when business, family and finances mix. It’s one of the biggest sources of relationship problems—and it can be the toughest to resolve.

    Throughout the course of any partnership, butting heads over spending and saving habits is to be expected. Couples can face financial rough patches that are more emotionally complex than deciding whether to splurge on take-out this week. When this happens, it can feel overwhelming and affect your ability to focus at work and home.

    That’s because money fights are rarely about dollars and cents. They’re usually a conflict of values, morals and family traditions or a battle over independence, control or security.

    Here are some tips for navigating tricky situations where family and finances mix.

    Scenario: A family member hasn’t paid back a loan, and your partner is furious.

    Disagreements over how much to support a relative can rupture trust between partners and create a loyalty struggle. One person may see helping a relative as a duty, while the other sees it as inappropriately bailing them out.

    This can create triangulation—a toxic relationship pattern that pits you against your partner. To cope, you may avoid having conversations about money with your spouse or starting lying about additional funds you lend your family member, which only makes the situation worse.

    How to Deal

    Speak to the family member in question directly, as a team. If the money lent is jointly shared with your partner, give them the seat at the table they deserve.

  3. Perfectionists: Get Yourself an Emotional Contingency Plan

    Any creative person knows that pursuing meaningful work also means climbing aboard an emotional rollercoaster. One moment, you’re on top of the world, stepping out onto a stage, or hitting “publish” on a post. Then a disappointing email or a critical comment about your work sends you plunging into despair.

    As a perfectionist with an honor-student complex trying to navigate the real world, I know these feelings very well. Those of us who pride ourselves on being goal-oriented can get so emotionally wrapped up in success that the results of our efforts start to dictate our happiness. We begin to over-identify with achievement.

    It’s easy to stay motivated when things are going well in your career. But when you’ve invested your whole self in writing, the arts, or even starting your own business, falling short of expectations can be a major blow.

    Unfortunately, we can’t always control the outcomes of our efforts. But we can better prepare ourselves for the possibility of failure. We can build resilience so that we keep striving even in the face of setbacks—the key is making your own emotional contingency plan.

    WOOP it up

    The WOOP method, created by psychology professors Gabriele Oettingen and Dr. Peter Gollwitzer of New York University, has been scientifically proven to improve everything from academic achievement to drug addiction. The strategy uses mental contrasting to help develop a concrete plan to achieve your goal, as well as how to recover if you don’t.

  4. Dealing with Family Who Don’t Support Your Career Choices: 4 Tips

    With the holidays around the corner, dinner table conversations about work are bound to come up.

    It’s common to feel anxiety at the thought of explaining what you do for a living to a skeptical audience, especially when your job title can’t be summed up simply or straightforwardly.

    Don’t panic yet.

    It may seem difficult to get Aunt Sue to understand what the heck a Digital Strategist is or to convince Dad that you’re able to support yourself just fine thank you, but it’s not impossible.

    Use these strategies to navigate tricky, sometimes triggering career conversations this holiday season.

    1. Start With Questions

    It’s drilled into us that the best way to get others to understand what we do is by wrapping it up in a quick, 30-second elevator speech. While your carefully crafted pitch impresses prospective employers, it may only confuse and alienate your loved ones.

    Instead, gauge where your loved ones stand with understanding your career rather than immediately launching into explanation mode. Start with a broad, simple question such as “How familiar are you with [insert your profession]?” or “What do you know about [finance, sports marketing, etc]?”

    By taking the lead, you have more control to steer the conversation in a positive direction. Think of it like a mini-market research challenge. It gives you the chance to unearth misconceptions they may have about what you do so you can correct them in conversation.


  5. Science Says THIS Is The Best Time of Day to Make Decisions

    Producing high-quality work day after day is no small feat.

    When you use your brain on perpetual overdrive, you’re bound to hit productivity slumps where it feels like you’re fresh out of new ideas.

    While there’s no shortage of tricks and tips to hack your way to more innovative thinking, timing is everything, says sleep doctor Dr. Micheal Breus, author of The Power of When. He believes working in sync with our body’s natural clock is the key to unlocking success to produce our best, most creative work.

    The science of “good timing” — called chronobiology — reveals peak performance is hardwired into our DNA. “An inner clock embedded inside your brain has been ticking away, keeping perfect time, since you were a baby,” writes Breus, “This precisely engineered timekeeper is called your circadian pacemaker, or biological clock.”

    So, the next time you’re feeling mentally sluggish, try tapping into chronobiology to perform at your best in these areas:

    The Best Time to Learn Something New

    Learning is most effective when the brain is in acquisition mode, generally between 10:00 am to 2:00 p.m. and then again from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

    Night owls beware: think twice before pulling an all-nighter. The lowest learning valley occurs between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

    The Best Time To Make a Decision

    The phrase “sleep on it” has persisted for a reason: we make worst decisions late at night and first thing in the morning.

  6. 3 Red Flags You Need Better Boundaries at Work (And How To Set Them)

    Do you know anybody who’s running on the vicious hamster wheel of career dissatisfaction? Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s your partner or a family member.

    A few years ago I was that person. And so was my friend Scott Barlow.

    Stress used to wake up Scott up at night. He’d worry about all the things he had said “yes” to despite his better judgement. He was overcommitted, burned out, and scared.

    Why? Because every time in his life where he said yes to too many things, he gave up his boundaries. When he gave up his boundaries, his happiness temporarily went out the door, too. Worse of all, he was wasting time and energy on work he truly didn’t enjoy.

    I had a very similar experience in my own career. Recently, I got to share my story on Scott’s podcast, Happen To Your Career.

    Here’s a snippet of our conversation:

    “If you are someone who is a successful person, we are brought up in these systems and taught if you do the right things, do well in school, pick the right major, follow all these steps then you will be happy….

    The world doesn’t work like that. It’s like this big insight that hits you. I felt like I had done everything right and ticked all the boxes. Went to school, got my undergrad degree, top of my class, and got my masters, ready to conquer the world. I took a job with a salary that was less than I could live and commute on.

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